The Last Week In April

Friday, May 1st will mark my second year as a member of the Episcopal Community Services team.

For 145 years, ECS has served the most vulnerable. Our focus is to provide tools and services that lift individuals up and out of poverty and restore the dignity of choice.

What I have learned in these two years is that the most powerful outcome we can help our participants achieve is long-term, viable employment. The critical issue in confronting poverty is in creating equal access to opportunity. Poverty robs people of choice.

What I have also learned is the power of faith in a faith-based agency. Not necessarily Episcopal flavored faith, but the universal version of faith that all traditions honor.

This is hard work, and the individuals who do this work have my deep admiration and respect. I am proud of the ECS team and of all those who are called to service in this work.

What is clear is that the call to service lies in leaning into our Baptismal Covenant.

Will you love your neighbor as yourself? Will you love the stranger? Will you respect the dignity of every human being? Will you strive to provide equal access to opportunity; will you in doing so open the door to every individual to have the dignity of choice in their lives?

Words that are easy to say, but actions that are incredibly hard to do. To lean in and live our baptismal vows requires a focus few of us have. By definition, we wander from the path because this work is hard, and at times, uncomfortable. Hence the power of faith to call us back to the path and give us the courage and strength to lean in and love the stranger, to share our resources of time and talent, and treasure … with time being the most critical.

My Rector reminds me that the mission of the church is mission.

To which I answer, not just the church.

None of us are that far from the stranger, or from being one.

In a week when America is once again on the brink, perhaps we all need to lean in.

With the key word being “all”.